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Retinal Detachment the Subject of Many Diagnostic Errors

Nichol & Associates, Attorneys at Law Oct. 21, 2020

A recent Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company (OMIC) study has shed light on how ophthalmologists are misdiagnosing a common condition, called retinal detachment (RD), at alarming rates. Tennessee residents should know that RD involves the retina lifting away from the rear of the eye. It’s usually caused by the natural separation of the eye’s vitreous gel from the retina, which is referred to as posterior vitreous detachment. Other causes can include:

• Near-sightedness (myopia)

• A thinning of the retina (lattice degeneration)

• Blunt trauma or penetrating injuries to the eye

• Complications after cataract surgery

The findings of the OMIC study

A total of 1,613 ophthalmic malpractice claims that were resolved or closed between 2008 and 2014 were analyzed. Diagnostic errors were involved in 223 (nearly 14%) of these claims. Of these, 84 claims (38%) involved the retina, and 65 claims (29%) were specifically linked to retinal detachment. No other ophthalmic condition was so misdiagnosed.

Why Ophthalmologists Are Missing RD

The question is why well-trained ophthalmologists are missing such an easily identifiable condition. Part of the answer lies in hectic work environments in which ophthalmologists are interacting with staff members, answering texts and taking calls all while trying to diagnose patients’ conditions. In addition, doctors may not properly educate their patients on what symptoms to look for, how to monitor them and when to come back for a follow-up exam.

Attorney for Medical Malpractice Cases

Under medical malpractice law, patients who are injured as a result of a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis may be eligible for compensation. Of course, a victim must prove that a doctor’s negligence caused his or her injury, which can be difficult to do on one’s own. This is why you may want to hire an attorney. A lawyer may consult with third parties who will investigate the matter before heading off to negotiations. As a last resort, an attorney may litigate.